Looking Back On Random Access Memories

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Daft Punk Random Access Memories Article

One of the few popular records that I think truly merited the acclaim directed at it in recent years was Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories.  It’s a record that I never tire of.  The above article is a long form article from Pitchfork at the time of that album’s release.  It’s hard to believe it is already almost two years since it came out.  An interesting read if you are curious about the group at all. A sample:

Just as their costumes put up a physical boundary between themselves and their audience, Daft Punk enjoy a “total separation” between their private and public lives, which is precisely what they want. “We don’t talk about our private lives because they’re private,” says Bangalter with a laugh. “Plus, the public image is more fun and entertaining anyway.” Instead of desiring traditional fame and worldwide recognition, Bangalter says they’re more interested in “changing the world without anybody knowing who we are, which is a very different ego fantasy, and it seems to be the premise for much more exciting developments.”

“Usually, the 24-hour, high-maintenance celebrity lifestyle can disconnect people from reality,” he continues. “And after a band has been making records for 20 years, they’re not doing the most interesting shit because they fall into this bourgeois, successful, settled existence.”

The The – This is the Day

I’m a big The The fan, especially of the album Mind Bomb.  Anyone that is interested in extremely intelligent pop music should get that album.  (Being a huge Johnny Marr fan doesn’t hurt as he plays on that album and the following album Dusk.  Don’t be mistaken though, The The is Matt Johnson’s show and his lyrics distinct ear for arrangements are really what separates The The from other musical acts.)  However, the song This is the Day, from their album Soul Mining, is a musical masterpiece.  I love the use of accordion over melodic British pop music.  It’s a unique combination.

The Cribs – For All My Sisters

Looking forward to hearing The Cribs new album For All My Sisters.  Their album Ignore the Ignorant was one of my favorite guitar rock records of recent years.  All their work is solid.  This time out they worked with producer Ric Ocasek.  Above is the single Burning for No One.  Here is the album artwork:

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My Wild One by Thin Lizzy

My Wild One

I will be on the road most of the day today.  Headed to a festival in Florida.  If I can get more posted from the road I will.  In the meanwhile above is Phil Lynott and the timeless Thin Lizzy to start your day right.  Their album run from Fighting through Black Rose is as good as any rock band’s.  And all of their albums have things to recommend them.  If Lynott had lived, who knows, who knows…

The Cure Albums From Best to Worst

The Cure Albums From Best to Worst

In the van headed for a festival in Florida.  Just read this list over at Stereogum,  while listening to The Cure’s Faith on my headphones.  If you happen to be a fan of the band this is a fun read, even if you don’t agree with it. 

Sad Song, When Tragedy Becomes Comedy

Today I was talking to my Dad on the phone about Dante’s Inferno.  Surprisingly we both found it funny.  This is a book where people’s souls are tortured in the most horrible ways imaginable for all eternity, often for no more than religious thought crimes or moments of passion.  The religious medieval mind was sure a strange one!  When things go that dark they, at some point, go through the looking glass and pass into the realm of absurdity, and then turn into comedy.

Lou Reed often makes me laugh in the same way, though I’m almost positive that he was in on the joke.  When he was asked about his album Berlin, which many deem the most depressing album of all time, he said he was just, “having fun.”  Whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul, I can put that album on, or any number of his albums, and find myself instantly cheered up.  The final song on it, Sad Song, is the cosmic punchline to the album.  I was going to describe it, but I found this description on YouTube by Adam Pendleton, the first comment at the time of writing, and I really enjoyed it:

So this poem is about an abusive husband, than his wife kills herself. Even so, he doesn’t really care. He half-heartedly chants “sad song.” than shrugs and moves on. Even after she’s gone he thinks of her as “wasting my time.” and that he was wrong for thinking she ever looked beautiful. He justifies his abuse, “somebody else would have broke both her arms.” At least that’s what I got out of it.

As Mark Twain once said, “Humor is tragedy plus time.”

Thomas Mapfumo’s Shumba

I apologize to those of you that come here a lot for not having written more in the last few days.  This constant cold damp weather in central Texas has finally gotten the best of me.  My head feels like a baloon.  In the meantime I thought I’d post some more music that is worth checking out.  When I’ve been home I have been listening to music from various parts of Africa lately.  Thomas Mapfumo, from Zimbabwe, is one of my favorites.  His album Gwindingwi Rine Shumba is particularly unique, especially in the guitar playing.  The album is a front to back winner, with songs that sound more traditionally like what we often perceive as African pop, and also strange jagged guitar duels like the song above.